Volunteers make final repairs on veteran's home damaged in 2016 flood
BATON ROUGE - One Baton Rouge family is beyond grateful after dozens of volunteers came out Thursday to make final repairs on their home that was damaged during the 2016 flood.
Ronald Whicker, a 30-year Army National Guard veteran, and his wife Betty, a school teacher in East Baton Rouge, have been through a lot since August 2016. But with the help of two organizations, they're ready to move on and move back into their completed home.
Ronald and Betty say they are completely overwhelmed knowing their home is almost back to normal after years of waiting.
“Very grateful. Didn't even imagine on this scale, that we would be the recipients of such an honor,” Ronald said.
Living in a FEMA trailer since January 2017, the couple returned to their still-unfinished home this past May. There were no floors, no doors on the inside, broken windows and no kitchen.
“It was a depressing move even to come home. To realize that you couldn't really sit comfortably in your home or you couldn't cook anything,” Betty said.
After the two were scammed out of $50,000 by a bad contractor, local group Rebuilding Together Baton Rouge and Home Depot stepped in.
“We just wanted to help them finish their house. They've been struggling to get back in the house for three years,” Karen Ewing with Rebuilding Together Baton Rouge said.
On Thursday, volunteers installed a brand new kitchen, flooring, baseboards, repainted the entire house and even added some extra surprises.
“Didn't ask for landscaping, or the swing set. I mean I could just go on and on. And they also treated us as neighbors,” Ronald said.
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, the Whickers are ready to put that brand new kitchen to use, remaining thankful for the help they've gotten.
“It’s something that we never would have imagined. And we just give all the glory and all the praise to God,” Betty said.
Rebuilding Together Baton Rouge says that with help from places like Home Depot, they've repaired more than 70 homes damaged by the 2016 flood. But they say there’s still even more work that needs to be done, with several hundred homes still waiting to receive that same help.